Nov. 18 (UPI) — The demise toll continued to climb in Central America on Wednesday amid landslides, flash flooding and rising issues over the unfold of COVID-19 after Hurricane Iota tore by means of the area earlier this week.

Although the storm has since dissipated, Iota made landfall in northeastern Nicaragua Monday evening because the strongest November storm on report to hit the nation, devastating communities that had been already reeling from Hurricane Eta, which hit miles from the identical spot lower than two weeks earlier.

The demise toll from the storm has climbed to no less than 19 although there are fears it might rise a lot larger.

Nicaragua’s Vice President Rosario Murillo stated 16 had been lifeless, up from the six she introduced on Tuesday, together with youngsters, CNN reported. At the very least two individuals had been lifeless in Colombia. In Honduras, the armed forces confirmed late Wednesday that the physique of a 77-year-old was present in a home buried because of a landslide.

Murillo stated greater than 400,000 Nicaraguans have been affected by Iota with greater than 50,700 resided in authorities shelters.

In accordance with native authorities, areas all through Nicaragua have been inundated with as much as 10 inches of rain during the last two days, inflicting flash floods and landslides. And although the storm has dissipated, it can proceed to generate rain over no less than Wednesday, they stated.

“The truth that Iota has left Nicaragua and the area doesn’t imply that the hazards have disappeared,” stated Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez of SINAPRED, the nation’s emergency administration company. “The soils are saturated, in some locations the winds will proceed from mild to average, which might imply that we now have progress of the rivers, landslides within the mountainous areas.”

At the very least 15 individuals are lacking in Nicaragua’s north-central municipality of Tuma la Dalia because of a landslide that was greater than a half-mile lengthy and 650 toes large. An emergency response brigade of the Military, Nationwide Police, hearth division and different first responder teams had been capable of recuse 4 individuals but in addition retrieved the our bodies of 4 others, together with three youngsters ages 9 years, 2 years and seven months, SINAPRED stated in an announcement.

Rescuers will proceed to seek for the lacking, it stated.

“These households in earlier years obtained the proposal to relocate as a result of they had been in a danger zone, however they didn’t settle for,” the discharge stated. “They had been additionally visited to depart the place earlier than the arrival of the hurricane, however determined to say.”

The Nationwide Hurricane Heart warned Wednesday that “life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding” is predicted all through Central America.

In Honduras, the armed forces proceed to tweet photos of rescue operations, destruction and swamped villages whereas the nationwide police warned residents on Wednesday to avoid a number of bridges, roads and highways because of flooding.

The United Nations stated impacts of the damages wrought by Eta in Central America had been nonetheless being estimated when Iota hit.

“So, for instance, Honduras, authorities now report that three million individuals are affected,” Clare Nullis, the spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Group, informed the U.N. at a press convention on Tuesday. “That is 1 million greater than the figures that they reported final week. In Guatemala, we’re speaking about greater than 900,000 individuals instantly affected by Eta. That is practically triple the determine from the earlier week. So that is very a lot nonetheless creating emergency on prime of which now slams one other emergency with probably catastrophic penalties.”

Americares, a world non-profit well being and growth group, which has been working with accomplice organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to stop the unfold of COVID-19, stated it’s apprehensive about elevated infections.

“With 1000’s of households nonetheless in shelters from Hurricane Eta, and 1000’s extra now in search of refuge from Iota, there’s elevated concern concerning the potential unfold of COVID-19,” the group stated in an announcement. “Private protecting tools and hand sanitizer for evacuees are among the many biggest wants, significantly as bigger shelters open throughout the area to fulfill the expanded want.”

Venture Hope stated late final week the variety of COVID-19 infections following Eta in Honduras jumped by greater than 2,100 instances and 68 deaths.

“Instances are prone to rise much more as testing has elevated within the aftermath of Hurricane Eta and as COVID-19 probably unfold amongst displace populations,” the worldwide well being and humanitarian group stated in an announcement.